Covid Update from Deputy Head

14th November 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

This is the ‘Friday’ update I promised in my Half Term letter; I apologise that it is 24 hours late. I am pleased to report no further news after the incidents about which I wrote to you earlier in the week. In summary, we have a single COVID case in the school community at present, no subsequent incidences of indicative symptoms, and no subsequent positive tests.

I am aware you will be turning your minds to arrangements for the end of term and the start of the Spring Term in January. When I wrote earlier in the term, I said that we would not change our term dates. This remains true. However, in recognition of the stresses on the families of our international boarders in particular, we do understand that they may wish pupils to be able to leave up to 24 hours earlier than the published end of term date and time of Friday 11th December, after the carol service and we will enable that to happen. The benefit of this to all pupils is that it will also allow the School to put on a training day for teachers, to facilitate the ongoing shift towards digital learning that COVID has hastened. This training day essentially replaces the November 23rd INSET day (the “Mercury Half”).

The School can help pupils by providing PCR testing in the 72 hours prior to their departure. If you wish this to happen, please email the Medical Centre (MedicalCentre@kesw.org) with your request, date and time of flight, and confirm you are willing to pay the cost of the PCR test (currently approximately £100) which will be added to your termly bill.

At the start of the Spring Term, Old Ridley and St Bridget’s Houses will be available as a quarantine house for international pupils requiring 14 days’ isolation, from Sunday 3rd January. If you would like to take up this offer, please inform the School by emailing deputyhead@kesw.org as soon as possible and at any rate before Saturday 5th December. Please note this is not my usual email address; it is only used for specific responses such as this and is not monitored daily outside the times outlined here. We can only accept pupils who arrive in School for travel quarantine during the 24 hour period between 9am on Sunday 3rd January and 9am Monday 4th January, in order to avoid prolonging the period spent in isolation.

May I end by repeating our wish to support the government guidance by helping parents to minimise travel between households: this means that we strongly encourage boarders to stay in School at the weekend. We are open this coming Exeat (20th-22nd November) and there will be an enhanced programme of activities for your children to enjoy as well as plenty of time for them to relax after a demanding term so far. That programme will be finalised on Tuesday 17th November but it will include football and other team sport both indoors and outside, non-team, health-related exercise, and a range of other leisure and cultural activities. I should be delighted to see a strong take-up for this from boarders and day pupils whom we particularly encourage to participate.

With warmest good wishes to you all,

Yours faithfully,

David Corran

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